The Queen’s Golden Jubilee events which were held to celebrate 50 years of The Queen’s reign ended on June 4 2002 with a parade on The Mall and a fly past. Apparently over a million people were there that day to watch it and so were we. We watched the Queen and the Royal family wave to the crowds from the Buckingham palace balcony as the Red Arrows whizzed past. It was an amazing day.
We missed the Royals coming in their horse drawn carriages to St Pauls cathedral that morning. By the time we got to St Paul’s the Queen and Prince Phillip had been dropped off and we only saw the empty carriage leave. So we waited till they came out after the church service and drive past in their Rolls Royce back to Buckingham Palace. I clearly remember her wearing a blue outfit and Kavitha remembers her waving to us as they passed. The crowd had dispersed by then and there were not many people near us. We then walked over the Millenium Bridge to the Palace. It is about 2.5 miles and took us about 45 minutes. By the time we got to the Mall, people had already lined the street waiting for the parade. Once the parade was over, we joined the crowd and walked towards the palace. We reached the front of the Palace in time for the RAF fly past followed by the Concorde fly past. Finally the Red Arrows whizzed past with the patriotic blue, white and red smoke trailing behind them. This was not the first time we had seen the Queen.
In 1998 the National Health service celebrated it’s 50th anniversary and as a part of the celebrations there was a garden party at Buckingham palace. We all applied for it via a public ballot and Murali and I got tickets to attend the party. We were not allowed to take any cameras inside and it was before the days of mobile phones with inbuilt cameras. I should have got a hat for the occasion but did not. Once the gates were open we were ushered through the palace into the open courtyard where marquees were set up to serve afternoon tea and sandwiches including the famous cucumber ones. Soon The Queen and Prince Phillip came out to meet the crowd. Their courtiers went ahead to find people to line up on either sides for them to meet and talk to. We stood behind them as they walked past and talked to the chosen few.
On the 21 April, Her Majesty will be celebrating her 90th birthday. She is a remarkable woman who has done us all proud. Thrust into the limelight at a young age after the untimely death of her father she has conducted herself admirably setting a very high standard for the rest of the Royal family to follow and for that matter the rest of us too. Happy Birthday your Majesty, we salute you.